Stars downplay their league chances

2013-04-19 11:59

While they are the form team among the three remaining title contenders, Platinum Stars are downplaying their chances of winning the Absa Premiership title this season.

Stars, lying second in the table, just four points behind frontrunners Kaizer Chiefs after three successive league wins, host bottom feeders Chippa United in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, tomorrow.

Rejecting the notion that his side could lift the trophy, Stars player Benson Mhlongo insisted his team would be content with second. If Amakhosi slipped, however, he said they would pounce.

“Chiefs are ahead of us, that’s a fact,” said Mhlongo.

“For us to catch up, they must lose, which is something that is unlikely.

“I’ve got my number two in my pocket and I must hold onto it.

“It’s up to Chiefs to slip up. What I’ve got is number two, and I’ll try to keep this number two as long as I can.

“It’s up to Chiefs if they want to open up the gap or give us a chance.”

While the Rustenburg side are on a solid run of form, Chiefs have collected just six points from their last four league outings.

Defending champions Orlando Pirates, two points further back in third place, are without a win in six successive league games.

Amakhosi are away to Moroka Swallows tomorrow, while Pirates are tied up in African Champions League action.

And, while on paper they seem in with a real chance, Dikwena coach Cavan Johnson has drummed into his players the need to remain grounded, and dismissed any suggestion that his charges could finish top of the table at the end of season.

“We like where we are in the league and we’ve always said we should climb as high as we can and be in the top eight, if not in the top five,” Johnson said.

“It stays the same. We plod along, week in, week out, as humble as we can be, and play the best football we can.”

Johnson said their impressive run of form was down to the fitness of his squad.

“We didn’t do well in the beginning of the season because I knew my players weren’t fit. Now I know my players are fit.”

Johnson agreed that they were not chasing the title, and only Chiefs could open the door for them.

“In our hands is to play the best football we can. As for the rest, Kaizer Chiefs have to give somewhere, and, if they give, then we’re in with a chance.

“Like I said before, I think Kaizer Chiefs have won the league.”

Weekend Premiership fixtures:

Saturday: University of Pretoria vs Free State Stars (Tuks Stadium), Platinum Stars vs Chippa United (Royal Bafokeng Stadium), Moroka Swallows vs Kaizer Chiefs (Dobsonville Stadium), Ajax Cape Town vs Bidvest Wits (Athlone Stadium).

Sunday: AmaZulu vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Moses Mabhida Stadium), Bloemfontein Celtic vs Golden Arrows (Free State Stadium).

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